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Egypt's pilots sit-in to end army officers mandate over aviation ministry

Pilots are sitting-in at Syndicate to demand Morsi choose a civilian to head the civil aviation ministry in the upcoming cabinet after decades of monopoly by military men

Ahram Online, Friday 27 Jul 2012
Massoud
Current Minister of Aviation, Hussein Massoud (Ahram file)
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Around 150 Egyptian pilots announced a sit-in on Thursday demanding President Mohamed Morsi appoint a civilian technocrat as a minister of aviation in any new cabinet, Ahram Arabic-language portal reported.

The pilots, who are sitting-in at the Cairo headquarters of the Civilian Pilots Syndicate, vowed to escalate their sit-in if a minster who comes rom the Armed Forces is chosen by Hisham Qandil, the newly-appointed prime minister.

Malik Bayoumi, the head of the syndicate, disputed government claims that it is necessary for the ministry to be controlled by someone with military background because Egypt's airports are used as a part of emergency plans during wars.

Bayoumi described the decades-old practice of appointing army officers as ministers of aviation as an 'end of service remuneration' for Air Forces officers. 

The aviation's sector has several experienced civil people who are able to take over the ministry, Khaled Refaat, one of the protesting pilots, told the portal.

Mubarak's last aviation minister was a former commander of the Egyptian Air Force, Ahmed Shafiq, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in Egypt's presidential elections against Mohamed Morsi.

Shafiq served as minister of aviation from 2002 to 2011.

The current minister of aviation is Hussein Massoud, who is also a former officer in the Air Force.

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